JTS Scholar Selected to Attend Islamic Art Symposium in Qatar

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

October 9, 2007, New York, NY

Dr. Vivian Mann, a member of the faculty at The Jewish Theological Seminary and one of the world’s foremost scholars in Jewish art, has been selected as one of only fifteen Fellows worldwide to participate in the Second Biennial Hamad Bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art. The conference, scheduled for November 4-6, will be held in Doha, Qatar, one of the fastest growing centers of Islamic art in the Middle East.

Dr. Mann is Morris and Eva Feld Chair in Judaica at The Jewish Museum and advisor of JTS’s Master of Arts program in Jewish Art & Material Culture offered through its The Graduate School. The first advanced degree of its kind in the United States, the program was established to train art historians and curators from all religious traditions for scholarly and museum work in the burgeoning number of Jewish museums and exhibitions around the world.

The theme of this year’s symposium, “Rivers of Paradise: Water in Islamic Art and Culture,” will explore the theme of water in Islamic lands from southern Europe to South Asia. The symposium is being co-hosted by the Virginia Commonwealth School (VCU) of the Arts and the VCU School of the Arts in Qatar. Conference chairs are Drs. Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom, two of the world’s foremost experts in Islamic art.

Since turning to the field of Jewish art more than twenty years ago, Dr. Mann has concentrated on investigating Jewish ceremonial art within the dual contexts of Jewish law and the history of decorative arts in general, including the ceremonial art made for the church and mosque.

She has created numerous exhibitions and their catalogues, among them “Gardens and Ghettos: The Art of Jewish Life in Italy”; “Convivencia: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Medieval Spain”; and most recently “Morocco: Jews and Art in a Muslim Land.” In 2000, Dr. Mann’s Jewish Texts on the Visual Arts was published by Cambridge University Press, and her newest work, Art and Ceremony in Jewish Life, was published by Pindar Press in 2005. Dr. Mann's many articles and lectures cover a broad range of topics in medieval art and in the history of Jewish art.

The recipient of a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, a NEA Fellowship for Museum Professionals, a NEH Fellowship for research, and a NEH Collaborative Projects Grant for Interpretative Research (with Richard I. Cohen), Dr. Mann has also been a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Hebrew University. In 1999, she was awarded the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award in Jewish Thought by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture for her successful efforts at establishing the Master's Program in Jewish Art at JTS and for her scholarship in the field of Jewish art.

Editors/Reporters: To schedule an interview with Dr. Mann or to learn more about the Master of Arts program in Visual Arts & Culture, please contact Sherry S. Kirschenbaum in the JTS Department of Communications at (212) 678-8953.

Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world-class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, education, academic, and lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond.